South Carolina Senate approves bill expanding death penalty methods

The South Carolina Senate voted 32-11 in favor of expanding permissible ways of executing death row inmates. The bill, which was introduced to the Senate last year, would allow firing squads and the electric chair to be used for executions.

The bill was first introduced last December in response to an expiring lethal injection stockpile. The bill changes the primary method of execution to the electric chair and allows the inmates to choose lethal injection or firing squad so long as the method is available.

Additionally, if the inmate chooses lethal injection and it is unavailable then the method of execution would immediately default to the electric chair.

South Carolina is one of nine states that still has an electric chair and would become just the fifth state to approve of firing squads. There are currently 37 death row inmates in South Carolina, some of whom have exhausted all of their appeals.

The bill will now go to the House, where it is expected to pass, before going to the Governor, who is expected to sign it into law.